Recently, I visited a young couple who had just been married. Proudly displayed on their wall was a sign that declared the family was Established in 2023! While not the first time I had seen these signs, on this day, the importance of it struck me. The English dictionary tells us that the verb ESTABLISHED means "set up on a firm or permanent basis." This sign in their home is a continuous reminder of their promises to one another and their covenant with God. I left thinking it might be the best wedding gift they had been given.
For God, a covenant is a promise that will never be broken. Scripture says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Biblical truths and the firm foundation it offers are timeless.
In Matthew, Jesus speaks to the people of Capernaum about the great importance of building their lives on a solid foundation using a comparison of building homes. I can picture Jesus standing on the mount and thinking, how can I make them understand? Looking around, he saw the ravines below and thought, that's it! Then, he began the parable of the two builders.
MATTHEW 7: 24-27 - The parable of the two builders
24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Jesus asks us to look where we have built our lives. Jesus knows that we will have difficulties in this life, but he invites us to leave the shifting sand and build our lives on Him. Then, when the winds, rains & floods of life come, we are established on a solid, permanent, secure, safe foundation where we can "weather the storm."
Jesus doesn't sugarcoat the truth. He tells us in John 16:33 that "in this world we will have trouble, but through him that has overcome the world, we can have peace." In Isaiah 43:2, we read, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown." Jesus came to save us and promised never to leave us. He is with us each and every step of our lives.
We can find these words of encouragement, wisdom, and direction given throughout scripture; let's take time to read it, marinate in it, and live it out. Here are a few points that show the difference between a wise man and a foolish man. I encourage you to add to this list as you read God's Word.
Being a Florida girl with lots of sandy soil, I don't know much about building on rock. But I do know the importance of building a home on an immovable foundation. I relate this parable to the important work that must be done to make the dwelling place ready to withstand a hurricane. The work done while building the foundation and infrastructure of a home is what matters. Beginning with steel rods and large bolts at the bottom, hurricane windows, and doors, and finishing with hurricane clips that tether the roof all the way to the foundation is a start. Even this isn't enough; when a storm threatens, you get sandbags and plywood and continue to reinforce before the winds and rains arrive. This extra work and extra cost helps ensure the house remains on the foundation even if some damage is done.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to do daily work to stay firmly attached to him. He is our rock, firm foundation, and cornerstone, and we are invited to be ESTABLISHED - to set our lives - on HIM! When we do this, we can have peace because He will hold us through the storms of life.
Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. - Ephesians 2: 21-22
I thought this would be the end of my message, but right before printing time, God gave me this image. See if you can picture it with me.
A modest house sits on a large rock foundation. The home is humble and plain on the outside, but warm, inviting light pours out the windows. As you walk closer to the house, you see how unique it is. Instead of the house sitting on top of the rock, it seems to be built into it. You can't see exactly where the foundation ends, and the house begins. A mat at the front door says, "Come on In." In a private corner is a comfy chair with a well-worn Bible laid open on the side table, along with a journal and bowl filled with prayers for others. Outside the house, a stone path goes out into the world for the residents to come and go. And along the trails are engraved Biblical promises and truths written on each stone. These verses are the same ones that are underlined and highlighted in the well-read Bible.
Through this picture, the Lord reminded me that we do not just STAY inside our homes built on the ROCK. It is the place for our quiet time, our renewal, where we ground ourselves to our firm foundation, but part of our purpose is to leave and step into the world, always knowing we have that safe place to return to. We don't need to be afraid to step out because God empowers us with the "portable" foundation of the indwelling Holy Spirit! Our spiritual foundation is always with us, so when we go to work, out to run errands, into an important meeting, to visit a friend in need, or even walk into an unexpected "storm,"………we are still able to be established on and anchored to our cornerstone, Christ Jesus.
John 14:26- But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all I have said to you.
Spend time thinking about what your ESTABLISHED sign would look like. The large date that would be in the center. This is the date you were created by our loving God. But also consider the dates that your bolts and tethers were added, all the ways that you witness God's kindness, his rescue, his provision, his healing, and his unconditional love. Thank God today for continuing to pursue you and for every circumstance that encouraged you to attach your spiritual foundation to Christ.
As a former teacher, I love a good craft project. Here is an idea you could do with your kids, grandchildren, or maybe even a family project. Supplies: rock, wire, card stock & photo
Here is an amazing song to listen to this week as you reflect on leaving behind the shifting sand of this world and build your life on Jesus - the Solid Rock. The lyrics are on the YouTube channel. Have a blessed week! Karen.